Sept. 29, 2003
Good afternoon thanks for coming. Off to week five of our season and our Pac-10 opener against Washington. They're playing pretty well right now and getting some things rolling from their first game. Obviously it's gonna be a strong test for us right from the start for our Pac-10 opener. Judging from our game last week, our kids played better offensively. We probably didn't generate as much run game offense as we needed to, but given the defense they were playing, which they were doing a lot of blitzing, we had to throw the ball and do some things in our throwing game. It was nice to be able to have some production in our throwing game that was needed to probably be the outcome of the game. It was good to see some of our younger players step up and make a few plays down the field that we weren't able to do in the early part of the season. Hopefully that will help build some confidence for the rest of the season. Defensively we played good, held a pretty good offense in check for most of the game. They had a late score. There are some things that I am really disappointed in that I know we need to fix. We had too many penalties and almost half of those were personal fouls, which are not characteristic of the type of program that I want here at UCLA. I want us to play hard and fast and all those different issues, but I want us to play good fundamental hard-nosed football without anything extra other than that. So we'll get those things addressed and we look forward to this week and starting our Pac-10 season.
Do you know who your quarterback will be Saturday?
Drew, he was our quarterback last week. Matt is cleared to practice this week; he has not taken one snap of practice until tomorrow. So it is hard to determine when and where he will be back. He has just been cleared to practice so we don't know how far away he is from a full-speed standpoint. But I think once he becomes close to 100 percent or getting near 100 percent, he will be weaned in to playing again. But as far as today, the only guarantee I can give you is that Drew Olson will be there for us on Saturday. Will Matt be there as well? I couldn't really tell you until the end of this week.
Do you see any scenario where Matt would start?
I don't think so. I think it's going to be a weaning process of eventually getting him comfortable, taking snaps again and doing things full speed. He's missed quite a bit of time so we're going to do what's right to make sure he's ready to go at any given time in our future. But to say that he would be the starter, that would be a slim chance right now.
Does how Drew played Saturday factor in to how quickly Matt comes back?
Drew is healthy and he's played the last three games. Matt is just now coming off an injury and trying to get himself back into playing shape again. I don't think how Drew played on Saturday is a factor in how we're brining the other guy back.
Do you think teams are over playing the run, or do you just need to improve in the running game?
Probably both to be honest with you. I think they understand we have a young quarterback who his not seasoned and is getting his experience as we go. That plays into the part to where teams try to load the running game to make the quarterback be the player to beat you. So I think in answering your question it was a little of both. It was nice to see that drew had some success throwing the ball and us having some success making some plays down field. That will help us, obviously with the confidence of the throwing game starting to come along, it will hopefully make teams start to play more honest against us.
Any thoughts about possibly having Matt Ware exclusively matchup with Reggie Williams?
I think what we want to do is just play our defense, that is what has gotten us this far. Today's Monday and that's the biggest day of our game planning, I haven't had my meeting with our defensive coaches yet as to if they've thought about matching personnel yet or what have you. I can't answer that for certain right now. My gut would tell us that we're just going to play our defense and whatever side that Reggie lines up on will be the corner on that side and vice versa.
What kind of problems does Reggie Williams cause?
A lot of problems. Obviously he is able to produce every week and he has been able to do that for the past two or three years. I don't think there is ever a way of shutting him down, you just want to try to manage him to where he can't hurt you when he wants to hurt you. We'll just try to do what we need to do to be effective defensively in hurting or stopping the offense, with the understanding that he's going to have his opportunities to make a few plays.
How big was the second half in terms of giving the offensive confidence going into Pac-10?
I think it was really big. It was 3-3 at halftime and we had the ball coming out in the second half and we needed to generate something with some momentum and it was nice to be able to do that. As soon as we made one play it started a series of plays for us and we just fed off each other. I think it will give our offense some confidence in our throwing game and our players that were able to make some tough catches in the second half, and there were a number of them that did that. It's going to give all those guys kind of a shot in the arm so to speak. So we're excited about the improvement there but we're no where close to where we could be and I mentioned that after the game. But this was a very big positive step in the right direction.
Complete conference available in audio format.